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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5422
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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I had my wisdom teeth removed over 10 years ago at the OHCWA

Customer Question

I had my wisdom teeth removed over 10 years ago at the OHCWA in Perth. I still have constant numbness, painful tingling on the left hand side of my tongue. When I brush my teeth every time I touch where my lower left tooth was I get what feels like a 9v battery to the tip of my tongue. I constantly chew on it to the point it is now a habit to try and prevent biting it. I only know I've bitten my tongue as I bite so hard that I taste blood and usually resulting in scars left on my tongue. I was never advised of possible permanent numbness. Apparently my root had a hook shape ant it severed/damaged the nerve. For at least a year after the dentist did free follow ups, to me that means he is admitting fault, however the feeling has never returned. I chew on my tongue, which is now a habit, so much that it's red raw and very painful. I started off chewing on it so I knew were it was to stop the constant accidental biting of it. Besides the fact my tongue looks disgusting from all the scars and bite holes it actually really hurts almost constantly. Wish I knew if something can be done so long after the procedure to help.
I now have to live like this for the rest of my life.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 2 years ago.
The limitation period for personal injury claims is only three years, but it generally does not run until you ought reasonably have come to realise you have a serious injury. No doubt given ten years have passed since the surgery it would be difficult to argue that you didn't realise that you had a serious issue until 7 years ago, but it may not be impossible depending on your medical history.
Aside from the limitation issue, the outcome of a case such as this depends on demonstrating that the party who removed your wisdom teeth was in some way negligent. The mere fact you have had severe issues, whilst suggesting something may have been done negligently, does not itself prove negligence. Surgeries of all sorts have risks attached to them, some of which cannot reasonably be avoided and the courts will not hold a medical practitioner liable for problems if their treatment was reasonable according to the ordinary standards of similar medical practitioners. This means to succeed you will need to obtain a medical opinion confirming that the person who removed your teeth did something wrong or contrary to normal prudent medical practice.
Clearly there are obstacles to you pursuing a claim, however, without knowing more I would not say your case is entirely hopeless and with that in mind, it may be sensible for you to at least meet with a personal injury lawyer to discuss the history of your problems to see whether the limitation issue can be overcome, and if so, whether it would be worth your while to commission an appropriate expert to review your problem and whether the treatment you received was in fact negligent.
If you need help finding an appropriate medical negligence injury lawyer contact the Law Society of WA as they can refer you to suitable lawyers in your area.
I trust the above assists your understanding.
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